The Indian men’s football team will be one of the four international sides which will compete in Merdeka Cup 2023 scheduled from October 13 to 17 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The 42nd edition of the Merdeka Cup will be held at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. The football tournament, which was last played in 2013, will resume after a gap of 10 years. All matches of the four-team competition will be live streamed in India.

Besides India, the other teams that will feature in the five-day tournament include hosts Malaysia, Tajikistan and Palestine

The initial draw featured Lebanon before they withdrew from the tournament and were replaced by Tajikistan. Palestine, currently 97th in FIFA Rankings, are the top-ranked team in the competition followed by India (102), Tajikistan (110) and Malaysia (134).

India will open their campaign against hosts Malaysia in the semi-finals on October 13. It will be India's 24th meeting with Malaysia with the former winning seven times and the latter emerging victorious on 10 occasions. As many as seven encounters between these teams finished in draws.

The last time both teams faced each other was in a friendly in Kolkata in 2011. The Blue Tigers won the encounter 3-2. Meanwhile, Palestine and Tajikistan will face off in the other semi-finals on the same day. 

The winner of the two semi-finals will play in the final while the two losing teams will battle in the third-place playoff match. Both the final and the third-place playoff match are scheduled for October 17.

This will be the Indian team’s first appearance in the Merdeka Cup since 2001. India finished bottom of Group B after losing all their three matches back in 2001. Overall, the Blue Tigers have participated 18 times in the competition, finishing as runner-ups in 1959 and 1964.

The India team will come into the tournament on the back of their pre-quarterfinal run in the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou, China recently. The Sunil Chhetri-led team was knocked out after losing 2-0 to Saudi Arabia.

Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac announced a list of 26 probable players for the Merdeka Cup 2023 in September. The final list of 23 players will be announced in the second week of October.

Malaysia will go into the tournament as the defending champions, having beaten Myanmar 2-0 in the final back in 2013. The hosts are also the most successful team in the tournament with 10 titles.

Merdeka Cup 2023 schedule and live India matches

All match times are in India Standard Time (IST)

Day and Date




Friday, October 13

Palestine vs Tajikistan

Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur

2:00 PM

Friday, October 13

Malaysia vs India

Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur

6:30 PM

Tuesday, October 17

Third-place playoff

Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur

2:00 PM

Tuesday, October 17

Merdeka Cup 2023 final

Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur

6:30 PM

Where to watch Merdeka Cup 2023 live in India?

The Merdeka Cup 2023 football tournament will be live streamed on the Disney+Hotstar app and website.  

Live telecast of Merdeka Cup 2023 will be available on the Star Sports Network TV channels in India.

Merdeka Cup 2023: India’s probable squad

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Vishal Kaith and Dheeraj Singh.

Defenders: Nikhil Poojary, Roshan Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Anwar Ali, Mehtab Singh, Lalchungnunga, Akash Mishra and Subhasish Bose.

Midfielders: Jeakson Singh, Suresh Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Rohit Kumar, Sahal Abdul Samad, Brandon Fernandes, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Udanta Singh, Vikram Pratap Singh, Mahesh Singh Naorem, Liston Colaco and Nandhakumar Sekar.

Forwards: Sunil Chhetri and Manvir Singh.

Head Coach: Igor Stimac

Photo credit: Alamy